Archive for February 2014

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Whats Ap? Ask Telegram

What social network Facebook will ultimately gain for having shelled out US $19 billion for messaging app WhatsApp remains to be seen, but a rival called Telegram has already gained huge momentum, some of it partially at WhatsApp’s expense.

The 1-2 punch of Facebook’s acquisition announcement & the WhatsApp messenger app going down for 4 hours a few hours after, tilted the scales towards Telegram, which started gaining users by the hundreds.

Before the rival’s downtime, Telegram was getting around 300,000-odd downloads per day, & but that jumped to around 1 million. On the day WhatsApp went down, Telegram claimed it got 1.8 million new users, & the next day added another 4.9 million to its kitty.

messaging appThe insanely high flow of users towards Telegram pushed it up to the top for app downloads in the social networking category, where it is currently in 4th place, ahead of Twitter & just behind Facebook, WhatsApp & Facebook Messenger.

Hype & luck apart, exactly what does the Telegram messenger app offer that makes it so good? Well, you can use it to send messages (text, pictures, videos & document files) to people in your phone’s contact list who also have Telegram.

You can even categorize your Telegram contacts & create groups of recipients of up to 200 people. It has the same two-tick feature as WhatsApp, with one tick for a sent message & two for those that have been read.

Then there’s the security & big-brother aspect, because that’s where Telegram scores heavily over your traditional messaging apps.

The Berlin, Germany-based Telegram was founded by brothers Pavel & Nikolai Durov. The app is ad-free, & the Durovs promise on the Telegram Website that it is a non-commercial project & they will never sell ads or accept outside investment.

2ndly, they welcome people who wear tin-foil hats & tend to lean towards the paranoid. Telegram has a self-destruct feature for something they call secret chats.

You can set your encrypted secret chat messages to self-destruct after a set amount of time from both ends, & no one including Telegram will be able to intercept or decipher the messages in the interim. If you choose to initiate a secret chat, the message won’t even be stored on Telegram’s Cloud.

Then there’s the little matter of which version of the Telegram app you want to download. Their 1st app for the iPhone was launched in Aug 2013, & the official Android one followed soon after in Oct 2013.

But the official Android app was chosen through a developer contest, & the runner-up’s app was apparently good enough that it’s also available as an unofficial app.

In fact, they have a whole bunch of unofficial apps, so you can choose which one you want.

But if you’re a stickler for official apps, click here to download the Telegram messenger app for iOS from the App Store, & click here for the Android app from Google Play.

Image Credit: Telegram

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rbutr browser extension and toolbar helps rebut misinformation

Among the many startups that are born Online every day, this one is kinda “different”. rbutr is a browser extension that tells a Net surfer if there is a rebuttal or opposing information/views elsewhere on the Internet about the contents (facts &/or opinion) expressed in the web page which he/she is currently reading.

The founders point out that rbutr, which has been around for 2 years now, is not a discussion forum or message board. It’s more of a mapping system which connects web pages in a sort of peer review system.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s no user generated Content being added to rbutr. In fact, that’s part of what’s new with rbutr. It was originally available as a browser extension for Chrome users, & then they added Firefox. Now there’s a separate toolbar that’ll work for anyone, regardless of the browser they’re using.

You can add the plugin for Chrome to your browser, or download & install it for Firefox. The toolbar doesn’t require you to download & install a plugin. All you need to do is add rbutr.com before the URL in question. Like so – rbutr.com/yoursite.com/yourpage.com.

The whole page will then be reloaded as a frame within the rbutr site, along with any rebuttals or disputes the page may have attracted.

One of the advantages of using rbutr is that it allows you to share & talk about Content you dispute without providing the source with more link juice. Sharing a page with others as an rbutr.com link doesn’t give the source any link love, & it nevertheless lets people discuss the page & let others know about it.

The site is not ad-supported, & the founders have stressed on the fact that they’re not monetizing it now & may have to figure out how to do at some point in the future. This, coupled with the peer review concept rbutr is based on, makes the whole thing seem like an evolution or a variant of Wikipedia.

Speaking of which, Wikipedia such a big hit because of the huge number of users it attracted, which in turn generated reliable & verified Content on everything in the universe. Similarly, rbutr will need to attract a whole lot of people in order to get every page of information rbutd, so to speak.

rbutr was launched in Feb 2012, & followed by the public beta in the next month. The founders of rbutr are Shane Greenup & Craig O’Shannessy. Greenup is the vision guy who does the big picture, while O’Shannessy is the tech expert behind the venture. rbutr has received seed funding from the Start-Up Chile program.

Image Credit: rbutr

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